AP reporter reveals why scaled-down GOP convention is so 'devastating' to Trump's campaign
President Donald Trump (MSNBC)

President Donald Trump has agreed to scale back the Republican National Convention in recognition of the coronavirus threat, and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said that poses a major threat to his re-election campaign.


The "Morning Joe" host said the president's poll numbers remained underwater just six weeks before early voting begins, and Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire revealed the Trump campaign was increasingly alarmed by the situation.

"There is widespread alarm," Lemire said. "It's not that early anymore, because of early voting beginning in a few weeks. We are now in the middle of the summer. The efforts to expand the map are all but gone. The New Mexicos, Minnesotas -- it's not going to happen to expand the states, so they're facing deficits they have to win. Michigan has been on the verge of being gone for a while, Pennsylvania, we were surprised the polls didn't have Joe Biden up more, particularly considering the strength around Scranton and that area -- he's from Scranton, it's been discussed."

Polls show Biden ahead in Florida, as well, and Lemire said the loss of a big public event in Jacksonville deals a major blow to the president's re-election.

"There's no path without Florida," Lemire said. "He's not re-elected if he doesn't win Florida. That's why partially canceling the convention was so devastating to the president. Yes, he had to bow to pressure. In many ways, it was inevitable. There's surges of cases in the state, and also a real reluctance of donors and Republican senators to go. A number of Republican senators had said they wouldn't attend, they were having trouble raising money, getting guests committing to stay for a few days. The last thing the president wanted was to appear in a minor league ballpark and only have a handful of people there. they're not going to be any cardboard cutouts like we saw last night in the baseball games."

"The campaign is running out of events to change the momentum," he said. "There's no longer a convention, it'll be a speech some virtual events. He can't have a campaign rally, no discussions of having rallies. They are underwater. We have seen an effort in the briefing room this week to try to stick to his talking points. It's not a new tone -- we've seen the tweets -- but right now they are simply in trouble and they know they're running out of time."